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Ricciardo backed to take McLaren "to the next level"

Ricciardo backed to take McLaren "to the next level"

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Ricciardo backed to take McLaren "to the next level"

Ricciardo backed to take McLaren "to the next level"

Daniel Ricciardo will take McLaren "to the next level" in Formula 1, according to CEO Zak Brown.

Ricciardo will leave Renault at the end of this year and drive for McLaren from 2021 after signing a multi-year agreement with the team, replacing Carlos Sainz who is to join Ferrari from next season.

While the loss of Sainz is a sad one, as far as Brown is concerned, the acquisition of seven-time race winner Ricciardo is seen as a major coup that will help challenge Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull.

"Getting a grand prix winner like Daniel definitely is a sign that we are going in the right direction," said Brown.

"He believes in that. We went after him a couple of years ago before he made the decision not to join us.

"I've talked to him about it since. What was...[the reason]? And he went 'Well, you were coming off a pretty poor season' - putting it politely - 'but also there was a lot of 'this is what we're going to do to rebuild the team'.

"I hadn't yet brought in Andreas Seidl, James Key, or restructured the leadership, so there were a lot of promises, and coming off such a bad season I could see how he would go, well...

"Now it's played out, he's seen the changes we've made, the leadership Andreas has brought and the backing we have from our shareholders, going to the Mercedes engine.

"We're a team on the move, and I think he's going to help get us to the next level."

With Ricciardo to partner fellow joker Lando Norris, McLaren is certainly going to be a fun team from 2021.

Brown, however, believes he has an amazing on-track pairing, adding: "They're both deadly serious in a race car, that's for sure.

"Lando is excited. They're great personalities, fan favourites, so as a combination we have the most exciting driver line-up on and off the track for 2021.

"I think we've a great line-up for 2020, so we're all very laser-focused on getting back to racing this year, and we will get excited about '21 when we are done with '20."

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